Oil prices edged above $71 a barrel on Monday as traders eyed directionless equity and currency markets for guidance on the eve of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
OPEC's president said over the weekend that current oil prices -- near six-week highs -- are not bad in a signal the cartel is unlikely to cut output further at its September meeting.
U.S. crude rose 31 cents to $71.24 a barrel by 1545 GMT (11:45 a.m. EDT). London Brent crude gained 41 cents to $74.00.
Most of the (energy) complex has begun the week by consolidating within the lower half of Friday's range with the financial markets providing only limited guidance, said Jim Ritterbusch, president of oil consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates in Galena, Illinois.
Wall Street stocks were slightly weaker on Monday, while the U.S. dollar also eased a shade. Over the past several months, oil prices have tended to track equities markets and move opposite to the dollar.
The U.S. Federal Reserve will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, amid expectations it is ready to start raising interest rates. Dealers said the meeting, along with a slew of economic indicators toward the end of the week, could be pivotal to the direction of oil prices.
Adding some support, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said a low pressure system southwest of the Cape Verde Islands could develop into the first tropical cyclone of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Tropical storms and hurricanes can impact energy supplies by shutting down offshore platforms and coastal refineries.
Meanwhile, leading exporter Saudi Arabia was expected to provide broadly steady supplies in September compared with August to European and Asian refiners, industry sources said on Monday.
(Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis and Fayen Wong)
(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Marguerita Choy)